FMCSA Denies Livestock Drivers Hours-of-Operation Exemption

Sleep Deprived Trucker

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a petition to exempt livestock haulers from current hours-of-operation regulations. This effort from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, and National Aquaculture Association, would have allowed truckers hauling insects, aquatic animals, and livestock to drive longer than is currently permitted under federal law.

Safety was the primary concern behind the FMCSA’s denial of this request.

What Are the Current Hours-of-Operation Regulations?

Under current law, truckers may only drive for 11 hours after 10 hours off duty and may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty. Furthermore, they must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving.

In addition, truckers cannot drive more than 60/70 hours during a seven to eight-day work week, and must take at least 34 hours off after driving for these lengths of time before beginning again.

The recently denied petition would have allowed livestock haulers to drive for 15 hours, exempting them from the more stringent 11 and 14-hour limits.

What’s at Stake?

As we’ve discussed before on our blog, drowsy driving is a serious threat. Nowhere is this more apparent than in accidents involving sleep-deprived truckers and smaller passenger vehicles. Due to the difference in weight and size, accidents between trucks and cars tend to be severe or deadly.

Every minute of sleep deprivation increases the risk of an accident exponentially. Requiring truckers to take brakes and limiting the number of consecutive hours they can operate their vehicles helps to prevent truck accidents and, in doing so, saves lives.

Hours-of-operation limits help to prevent drowsy truckers from causing accidents. They are not, however, a failsafe against drowsy drivers. When you are injured or a loved one is killed by a sleep-deprived trucker, you are entitled to hold all responsible parties accountable and seek maximum compensation for your damages. The attorneys at Shaw Cowart, LLP are here to help.

If you need help after a truck accident in or around Austin, please call 512-499-8900 to schedule a free case review today. Shaw Cowart maintains offices in Austin and San Antonio. We serve victims of serious injury throughout Texas.